Mark Reviews Movies


2  Stars (out of 4)

Director: Paul Dinello

Cast: Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, Paul Dinello, Gregory Hollimon, Deborah Rush, Maria Thayer, Carlo Alban, Joseph Cross, Matthew Broderick, Chris Pratt, Dan Hedaya, Ian Holm, Sarah Jessica Parker, Allison Janney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sarah Thyre, Kristen Johnston, Justin Theroux

MPAA Rating:   (for sexual content, language and some drug material)

Running Time: 1:37

Release Date: 6/28/06

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Capsule review by Mark Dujsik

A big-screen prequel for the very funny television series, Strangers with Candy is insanely, absurdly funny for about half of its running time. Then it stalls and never starts back up again. The story of Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), a 46-year-old recovering junkie and ex-convict who finds her way back to high school to attempt to bring her father out of a coma, hits the right notes of satirizing the after-school special mentality, but once the plot about trying to win a science fair kicks in, there's not really anywhere for the movie to go. There's some inspired casting here: Dan Hedaya as Jerri's comatose father, Ian Holm as the quirky family physician, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Allison Janney as members of the school board with an unspoken relationship, and Matthew Broderick as a science teacher brought in as a ringer. Sedaris is a hoot, and Stephen Colbert steals the movie as a Jesus-loving, blaspheming, full-of-himself science teacher who carries a flame for the male teacher he dumps. It's a performance of total shtick that miraculously doesn't get old. In spite of its demented flavor, the movie surprisingly doesn't push the envelope the way the series did.

Copyright 2006 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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